“...spending on housing benefit has risen from £14 billion ten years ago to £21 billion today. That is close to a 50% increase over and above inflation. Costs are completely out of control. We now spend more on housing benefit than we do on the police and on universities combined.......it is clear that the system of housing benefit is in dire need for reform. We will do that by: Resetting and restricting Local Housing Allowances; Up-rating deductions; Reducing certain awards Re-adjusting Support for Mortgage Interest payments Limiting social tenants’ entitlement to appropriately sized homes; And, lastly, we will for the first time introduce maximum limits on housing benefit – from £280 a week for a one bedroom property to £400 a week for a four bedroom or larger” George Osborne, 22 June 2010
Local AuthorityCaseloadAverage Losses (per loser per week) Brighton & Hove12,550£16 Eastbourne3,010£15 Hastings3,860£16 Lewes1,700£19 Rother1,510£20 Wealden1,490£23 East Sussex Total24,120£18
Estimated average loss per loser or notional loser, £ per week Shared room1-bed2-bed3-bed4-bed5-bed Brighton & Hove UA -1416191633 Eastbourne -10891846 Hastings -913171641 Lewes 7111416 47 Rother 471317 64 Wealden 889111984 East Sussex Average 31012151753
The government has announced increases in the national Discretionary Housing Payments budget by; £10 million in 2011/12 £40 million in 2012/13 £40 million in 2013/14 Begin planning for the potential impacts of Housing Benefit reform - what can local authorities do and what could the impacts look like at a local level? DWP Impact Assessment - http://www.dwp.gov.uk/local- authority-staff/housing-benefit/claims-processing/local- housing-allowance/impact-of-changes.shtmlhttp://www.dwp.gov.uk/local- authority-staff/housing-benefit/claims-processing/local- housing-allowance/impact-of-changes.shtml
Provide training for members and front line staff (including partner agencies) regarding the package of measures and the local response Develop a partnership approach between Housing Options Services and Housing Benefit Departments Engage with private rented sector landlords Talk to Housing Management and Partner RSLs Talk to Money Advice/Debt Counselling Services Talk to Job Centre Plus Talk to tenants Work in partnership! Share good practice...
Communication! LHA safeguarding (direct payments) – new guidance on LHA from DWP emphasising expanded discretion to pay landlords directly where the local authority considers it will assist the household to access alternative accommodation or sustain an existing tenancy Set up early warning systems to gain time to work with households at risk – how can local landlords work with the local authority to assist them in sustaining tenancies? There are significant benefits for PRS landlords who work in partnership with the local housing authority How will the local authority work with the PRS in future? Do local landlords have any suggestions of things that the Council could do to alleviate concerns they may have over LHA changes?
Undertake a considered impact assessment Work with your tenant to discuss affordability Work in partnership with the Council – there are additional benefits that can be provided around tenancy sustainment and where appropriate - direct payments / use of DHP
LAs should consider how they might revise their approach to assessing households for PRS access schemes such as Rent Deposit and Bond Guarantee Schemes where it is likely that the impact of proposed changes could make accommodation provided through the scheme unaffordable in future Review how marketing and work undertaken in response to recession impacts may be adjusted to assist in disseminating information and advice regarding Housing Benefit changes – link this work to some of the wider impacts of the government’s austerity package such as increasing household costs Ensure marketing is disseminated internally for colleagues with narrow financial margins in light of increasing households costs, reductions in in-work benefits and the 2 year public sector pay freeze
It is not only people in receipt of housing benefit that are affected by the coalition’s austerity measures ◦ Increase in VAT? ◦ Pay & recruitment freezes? ◦ Redundancies? ◦ Interest rates? ◦ SMI changes and time limits?